Published: Tuesday 12th October 2021
Bonded By Blood
We recently finished the successful Bonded By Blood: A Mothers Story campaign where a whopping 820 people booked blood donation appointments at 7 London locations, plus, Bristol, Birmingham, and Manchester. Plus, an additional 722 people responding to our campaign, booked alternative blood donation appointments outside of the campaign dates. To add to these amazing numbers we had a further 133 people join the British Bone Marrow Registry (BBMR).
The nationwide blood donation campaign entitled ‘Bonded by Blood: A Mothers Story’ was launched in memory of sickle cell warrior Richard Okorogheye.
Backed by mother of Richard, Evidence Joel and created by a group of Black health charities including ACLT (African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust), and community organisations Unsickle My Cells (CIC) and SickleKan, with support from NHS Blood and Transplant.
The campaign focused on amplifying the need for more blood donors of Black heritage to step forward, during two important dates in the Black British calendar, World Sickle Cell Awareness Month and Black History Month, encouraging Black people to book a blood donation appointment at a series of special sessions held over three consecutive weekends between 26th September – 10th October 2021.
Bonded by Blood: A Mother’s Story centred around encouraging new and current blood donors of Black heritage to donate in memory of Richard, the 19-year-old who was living with sickle cell and who went missing from his home in Ladbroke Grove in March of this year. Tragically, Richard’s body was found 20 miles away in Epping Forest, Essex, two weeks after he was reported missing.
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Richard had been shielding due to living with sickle cell disorder. As someone who regularly received regular blood transfusions his story is one which rocked the British Black community, with many individuals from the sickle cell community voicing their sadness of how Richard story had, an effect on them.
Watch the video below sharing the stories of mothers with children who receive regular blood transfusions as well as stories from mothers whose children were blood recipients but have sadly passed away.
On March 22nd, 19-year-old Richard Okorogheye, went missing from his home in Ladbroke Grove.
Two weeks later, Richard’s body was found 20 miles away in Epping Forest, Essex.
Richard had been shielding throughout the coronavirus pandemic because he had sickle cell disease. He was a regular recipient of blood transfusions and only left the house during the pandemic to visit the hospital to receive blood transfusions.
Richard’s mother Evidence Joel said:
“Blood donation campaigns like Bonded by Blood are incredibly important to encourage existing blood donors to donate regularly and new blood donors to consider donating, particularly within the Black community – to help the lives of sickle cell patients and others who require blood transfusions and exchanges to maintain and save their life.
I am grateful for the Bonded by Blood organisations coming together to do something positive in the name of my son Richard. He had a bright future ahead of him. It is my hope his legacy will be that of his name encouraging people from the Black community to support each other by doing something so amazing such as giving blood.”
A full campaign video featuring mothers from the Bonded by Blood: A Mothers Story, will launch on this page and across social media in September.
Jessica (Storm’s mother) shares her terrifying journey into motherhood with her happy and healthy 3-year old…
Storm received 17 blood transfusions; two on the night she was born. Storm was born just one day after the 24-week legal abortion limit, weighing just 1lb 4oz.
Jessica Elliott, 31, who lives in Lewisham, London still suffers flashbacks following the trauma of her daughter Storm’s birth. After suffering a devastating miscarriage at 21 weeks just a year earlier, she worried history would repeat itself when her waters broke on 25 March 2018, at 23 weeks.
Her little girl clung to life for three months in Evelina London Children’s Hospital – a specialist neonatal intensive care baby unit attached to St Thomas’ Hospital in central London – and is now a happy and healthy 3-year-old.
Daniel’s mother Beverley said:
“In 1999 Daniel finally beat leukaemia and received a lifesaving bone marrow transplant from an unrelated donor which allowed him to lead a full and active life for several years with his family and friends including becoming a graduate in Sports Physiotherapy at London Metropolitan University. However sadly October 2008 Daniel passed away to an unrelated illness in October 2008 aged 21.”
During the last 3-4 years of Daniel’s life, he had been diagnosed with Haemolytic Anaemia (abnormal breakdown of red blood cells) and became reliant on receiving 3-5 units of blood every week. The generosity of the (primarily) white British community, helped to preserve Daniel’s life, enabling him to continue his degree in Sports Physiotherapy at the London Metropolitan University in North London. Without this lifeline, Daniel’s life would have been cut much earlier.
Daniel like so many others who receive treatment for leukaemia and other blood conditions relied on regular blood transfusion to help maintain his health.
Gemma’s son Treyvon was diagnosed with a blood cancer in 2016, after complaining of a sore leg. The next day Treyvon was unable to walk, so was taken to the hospital for further investigations.
Following a series of blood tests, doctors confirmed he had Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL). Within days Treyvon started to receive chemotherapy.
Sadly, Treyvon passed away one week after his 9th birthday in February 2017. His mother Gemma said he needed blood transfusions from the very start of his diagnosis and right throughout his treatments.
Busola’s daughter 16-year-old daughter Toriayooluwa was diagnosed with sickle cell before she was born, through amniocentesis. Tori (as she’s also known), had her first crisis at just 9-months-old. Since then, she’s been on various prophylactic medications to keep her well.
Around six years ago, Tee (as she’s fondly referred to by family), developed a silent infarct, which indicated that she was at an increased risk of having a stroke. Since then, she was started to receive blood transfusions every 4-6 weeks. About 18 months ago, Toriayooluwa’s treatment had to be tweaked as she was still getting long episodes of painful crisis and hence, she is now on alternate blood exchanges and transfusions every 4 weeks.
Tori is the first girl to have sickle cell and have a port in Manchester
One unit (470mls) of donated blood saves 3 adult lives. Please CLICK HERE if you would like to save lives by beginning the process of donating blood.